Skip to content

Humane Society CEO Doesn’t Love Animals—But Does Love His Own Voice



A strange thing happens when you call the number for the Humane Society of the United States: Instead of being connected with an operator, you get to hear an automated message from its president and CEO, Wayne Pacelle. Is this good marketing, or just plain weird? You can listen to the message here.

We called the top 10 charities in the US and none of them has a personalized message from its CEO. But what makes Pacelle's message less than innocuous requires some context regarding his other actions. It just always seems to be about him, in short.

For starters, HSUS sent Pacelle—or Pacelle sent himself, really—on a 100-city, 18-month book tour in 2011 and 2012. As far as we can see, his book did all right the first two weeks of its release, making a bestseller list. But by the end of his tour, his Amazon sales rank was #140,418. Now, it's plummeted even further, to #383,297. Originally, the tour was just a handful of cities, and that would seem reasonable. But expanding it to 100 cities, including a trip to India, seems a bit much. And then there's the fact that Pacelle has appeared Sally Struthers-style in HSUS TV ads.

Moreover, this year, HSUS is hosting galas in three cities to, in part, celebrate Pacelle's 10-year stint as CEO. In other words, it's donor money throwing a party for him.

Heck, Pacelle's blog for HSUS claims that “Few are in a position to speak for the animals like Wayne Pacelle.” Yet Pacelle is not a veterinarian or animal science expert. In fact, he's made downright anti-animal statements. Pacelle has written, “I don't love animals or think they are cute.” And when asked by an interviewer if he would “envision a future with no pets,” Pacelle replied, “If I had my personal view perhaps that might take hold. In fact, I don't want to see another cat or dog born.”

Well, he's certainly had a nice makeover—and access to millions of donor dollars hasn't hurt.

Americans generally have reacted negatively to corporate CEOs who get “golden parachutes” or what appears to be excessive pay. And similarly, we wouldn't expect people to appreciate narcissism from the executive a charity. At what point does it stop becoming about helping animals, and start becoming about helping Wayne Pacelle's personal brand?

For the HSUS employees who read this blog (and there are many, judging from our analytics), here's a quick quiz you can take from CNN.com. It's called “Is Your Boss a Psychopath?” and the first question hits the mark.

More Stories

  • **Updated Horse Show Schedule

    The Walking Horse Report will provide daily updates to the list of canceled and postponed horse shows... Read More
  • 42nd WHOA International Face Masks

    Previously, WHOA announced protocols for the wearing of face masks during the International. Masks are required per county, and MTSU regulations. Wearing a mask in the show ring is not required while mounted, and handlers of Weanlings, Yearlings, Model, In-Hand or, Showmanship in the show ring. Masks are required in the Warm-up arena. Read More
  • Obituary – James Wilkerson

    James C. Wilkerson, age 79 of Maryville, passed away Saturday, August 8, 2020. James was the owner and president of Serviceway Motor Freight Inc. for over 35 years. He was a member of the Jaycee’s and the Knoxville Motor Transport Association... Read More
  • Grace Baptist Church to conduct Celebration Worship Service

    The Celebration recently was contacted by Jeffrey McGee of Grace Baptist Church regarding the opportunity to continue the tradition of the Celebration worship service on Sunday morning of The Celebration. The opportunity became available after Pastor Steve Murphree decided not to conduct the service this year. Read More
  • North Carolina Championship canceled

    Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the North Carolina Championship Horse Show, scheduled for October 8-10, has been canceled for this year. The North Carolina Walking Horse Association is already beginning their planning for a better experience in 2021... Read More
  • Live from International Grand Championship

    ReporTV will provide live streaming coverage from the 42nd annual International Pleasure and Colt Grand Championship, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, beginning at 4:00 pm each evening... Read More
  • Message from the President of the Alabama Walking Horse Ladies Auxiliary

    I hope everyone is planning to attend the 9th Annual AWHLA Horse Show. From the sound of things, it looks like we are going to have a great show... Read More
  • Celebration implementing Covid-19 protocols

    The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration continues to make preparations for the upcoming 82nd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. The show will be held August 26 – September 5, 2020... Read More
  • Stake class splits announced by Celebration

    The 2020 Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Champion will come from one of 14 horses that entered into the two qualifying classes that will be held Saturday evening August 29, 2020. The Celebration recently announced a 10% increase in entries for the 82nd Annual Celebration to be held August 26th – September 5th... Read More
  • Celebration Live Stream available throughout show

    Do you want to be at the 82nd annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration but can’t make it? Have no fear, because live stream internet is available to anyone not wanting to miss any of the action... Read More